How to prepare for a cycling vacation- Introduction
Guest contribution by Victor Nicholson
Cycling tourism is chosen by those who want a complete rest, discover even the most textbook places from an unexpected angle, and test their strength. A lone cyclist feels like a master of the situation who does not depend on the desires and opinions of other people. They go on cycling trips for self-knowledge of the individual psychological balance.
On bicycles, they cross continents, visit monasteries and deserts, and travel around the vast expanses of Asia, Africa, and America. The absence of like-minded people is compensated by new acquaintances and pleasant surprises. It is worth trying to make a bicycle trip alone to discover the secret nooks and crannies of unfamiliar cities and the wonders of nature. A cycling trip, even in quarantine, will allow you to stay at your own pace and do only what you want.
According to The Explorer, traveling by bike is becoming increasingly popular. And this is not surprising: such a trip will bring an unforgettable experience. After all, it is much faster than walking but much slower than traveling by plane, car, or train, and it allows you to enjoy the world around you to the fullest. But how to decide on such a seemingly challenging feat? And what should be the physical preparation?
A journey where you can explore everything in detail
Cycling is especially popular in Europe. But what can I say: there are so many bike paths that connect neighboring countries. Moreover, there are even tour operators who help with the organization of such a trip and provide a guide.
The bike gives you the ideal speed to feel any place. There are a lot of opportunities: you can see much more than during a hiking trip (and you won’t go far on foot). And much more than during a car trip: what will you have time to inspect on the road from a metal box? And on a bike, you may well stop when you see something interesting (which can be overlooked by a car). Yes, and you can go at a calm pace and without any haste.
Where to begin?
First, you must understand that you are ready for a lot of mileage. So start small, like cycling around the city after work. Or skip the subway altogether and head to work on your two-wheeled horse. When such trips become your pleasure, arrange a weekend bike ride of about 50 kilometers (30 miles). When this seems easy, it is possible to go on a long week-long trip.
However, the main thing here is not to overdo it. A 7-day trip should be planned so that you get one or two days of rest during the trip. Well, for starters, choosing a route along a flat road without a mountainous landscape is better. If you are able to go on such a trip successfully, you may want to visit a mountainous area the next time round.
Furthermore, you should not think that for cycling, you need to be slender and flexible, like a deer. No, not everyone’s physique is the same, and there are many who would go on long trips. Even elderly pensioners may go on bike rides despite their advanced age. The key here is to find your pace.
How to choose a bike?
There are a lot of bicycles now. So, there are road ones that are designed for smooth paved roads. And their modifications change to mountain bikes designed for mountain trails. It is best to stop at an intermediate model, which will be equally easy to drive on paved roads and dirt tracks.
What to bring with you?
First of all, the helmet. It must meet all safety standards. In addition, cycling shorts and cycling gloves are required. The latter will perfectly help you in the hot season: squeezing the steering wheel in them is much more comfortable, and the palms will not slip off. Also, breathable T-shirts and multi-functional and comfortable shoes (never travel in sandals: firstly, it is uncomfortable, and secondly, it can be dangerous!).
And, of course, a hat, bag, or backpack, ideally made of waterproof material so that the rain does not take you by surprise. And also a bicycle repair kit with a set of keys (you need to figure out how to use them in advance). For better navigation, maps are needed, preferably those that work offline.
As for expenses, you need to count on at least US$15 per day. In many European countries, $15-30 is enough for food. And this is provided that you will cook for yourself and live exclusively in a tent.
For a larger amount, say, US$30-50 per day, you can afford to spend the night in hotels, go to museums, and dine in cafes. With US$60 or more a day, you can always have a roof over your head and a decent breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as travel light and not burden yourself with spare clothes and canned food.
Many travelers say that their multi-month (or even multi-year) expeditions cost them an average of $20-30 per day.
To sum up, cycling holidays are a great way to discover the world and explore new places. Before going on a trip, be sure to be prepared with all necessary equipment and safety tools, and budget for your expenditures based on your preferences.
Images: Unsplash/ Dmitrii Vaccinium and David Dvoracek
Victor Nicholson is an outdoor enthusiast, camper, fisherman, and hunter. With 20 years of experience exploring incredible Australian landscapes and nature, he has honed his ability to evaluate and recommend the right equipment for various outdoor activities.